New reports are coming out that Scottish scientists have successfully discovered and tested a new cancer treatment medication which can target cancer cells without damaging nearby healthy tissue.
The University of Edinburgh researchers combined a molecule called SeNBD, that kills cancer with a food compound, tricking the cancer cells into eating the poison molecule. This combination drug has been labeled as a “Trojan Horse” according to other news outlets.
The peer reviewed study made use of zebrafish and human cells. The researchers say that more testing needs to be done in order to ensure that its safe for treatment of early-state cancer, and possibly drug-resistant bacteria.
The University explains that “cancerous cells are ‘greedy,'” seeking out high quantities of food to energize growth. Typically, cancer ingests healthy cells, but by pairing SeNBD with a food compound, it becomes bait, appearing as “ideal prey” for cancer cells which quickly ingest it.
The scientists explain that SeNBD is light-activated, meaning that it kills cells once it’s activated by contact with light. Surgeons could have the capability of using the combination of light with SeNBD to carefully target cancer cells, sparing nearby healthy cells.
Lead researcher Prof. Marc Vendrell called the research “an important advance,” particularly because it uses light activation which he says “is generally very safe.” He added that SeNBD is amongst the “smallest photosensitizers ever made,” and has many useful applications for targeting harmful cells.
Dr. Sam Benson, another researcher, said that the drug enters through the cell’s “front door,” and also praised the “light activated drug” for its incredible “Trojan Horse” ability, which avoids having to find other means of “batter[ing] through the cell’s defenses.”
Author: Levi Frazier